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Thread: Procrustes, variety, selectivity, and toys.

  1. #1
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Default Procrustes, variety, selectivity, and toys.

    Thread spawned from the " what will life be like after Covid" one.

    There's an old joke about a Salmon angler who dies and goes to another place. He's met by an angel who gives him a fly rod, and instructs him to cast into the most inviting salmon river he's ever seen. He does so, his cast is perfect, and his fly is immediately taken by a beautiful salmon of exactly twelve pounds.
    He's overjoyed, but his companion doesn't let him relax, instructing him to cast again. Lo and behold, exactly the same thing happens. When instructed to recast, it happens again, twelve pounds exactly. The poor angler is beginning to think the novelty's wearing off a bit, and says to the angel " It's a lovely river and all, but I'd have expected a bit more variation, interest and uncertainty in heaven".
    The angel looks at him and says " who said you were in Heaven"?

    That's an attempt to illustrate why I shan't be following Gavin's policy of using exactly the same kit, in identikit hotels, for as near as possible identical audiences and gigs, for as we all know, " variety is the spice of life". I try to live by that and similar ideas, half the fun is doing something different from last week. I'm sure we've all had that reaction when a regular walks into a pub residency, and you select the same track that he or she asks for every week.

    The downside of this life of adventure and excitement is when you get to the venue where you expected to be given acres of space, only to find that for whatever reason, the 6ft Equinox booth, 3metre lighting gantry, and 5Kw PA you normally use isn't going to fit. That's when you have to follow my old mate Proctustes in making your rig fit the available space. Fortunately, in the Transit outside are a Micromax booth, Gravity pole for the couple of lights needed,, and a slimline stick rig. Simples.

    For instance, compare and contrast two venues I have done weddings at. Effectively the same functions, all indoors, bar, food, evening only.
    First one is upstairs at a monastery, with time, access and sound restrictions, as it's in a residential area. That effectively gets the second rig mentioned above, even though there's a stage around twelve feet wide for me.
    Second one can also be upstairs ( unless I'm lucky enough to be in the room with the "secret door" into the car park). It gets subs and tops, two metres of lighting overhead, with usually at least six lights on, and a four foot Equinox.

    Why the huge difference? Same type of function, same amount of guests, same sized venue.

    Simple answer, because I want to use the right tools for the job, and because I have them available.
    Humorous answer, because at venue number two, my mate is in the room below with at least twice the amount of kit I'm using, and I don't want to be shown up too much.

    And yet, many DJs are like a colleague, who despite taking varied work, has one full size booth, one lighting rig, and two PA systems. ( The Loud One, or The Loud One + Subs).

    So folks, we know that despite what Joe Public thinks ( A Disco is a Disco, is a Disco ) we vary wildly in attitudes, what gigs we will seek, what we will take, what gear we will bring, what music we're prepared to play, and a thousand other things. So, please tell us all why you do or don't have a vast selection of gear, do or don't take gigs of every type, and do or don't take every gig offered.

    I'm on record as not being very selective as to what work I take, and having a wide range of kit. Gavin has given us his valid reasons for taking what could be called a polar opposite view, and his arguments are hard to counter. I can't compose a poll for this, so how about you let us know which end of the scale you're nearest to, please? No right or wrong answers, only personal taste, choice and perhaps circumstances ( eg no big van, so space restrictions).

    Over to you folks.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk

  2. #2
    Benny Smyth's Avatar
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    I'm picky about my gigs, but I still have options with my sound and lighting to do the job correctly. I'm not entirely sure how one can offer a bespoke service that doesn't include every aspect of your service.

    My bread and butter speakers are the CS1000. For the most part, they will cater for the events that I take on but the moment I am in a marquee or the guest list surpasses 90, out comes the RCF system. Lighting for the most part is along the same lines - tight spaces gets the T-Bar with a couple of moving heads and a couple of FXpar 9s, the next size up is the same number of lights, but in a two plinth configuration and then it's the four plinth show with four movers and four FXpar 9s.

    I don't charge extra to account for my time to setup the larger show because I only charge to account for my time to setup the larger show.

  3. #3
    Imagine's Avatar
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    "Procrustes, variety, selectivity, and toys." - I thought that was going to be the introduction to a smutty post there

    I'm in the same boat as our learn'd friend oop t'North. Lots of options for different scenarios.

    My main rig is fairly simple and serves probably around 50% of what I do....couple of scanners, couple of floods, Evolves and a Light-console Elite. The booth has the advantage of reversible panels on it so it can be white or black dependant on what I'm doing with it.

    Obviously I do a lot of marquee/barn weddings too, which is where the rustic booth comes into play. One "marquee" in particular is black and starlit, so more lighting is required than in most barns or hotel function rooms. For marquees, there's obviously the need too for a dedicated four box set because tents swallow sound.

    But, a lot of the venues I work in are massively different in how they react to sound and lighting. Some venues require very little, whilst several need the kitchen sink throwing at them to generate the desired effect.

    And then come the options: Kids parties and school discos where a quick in and out is needed and the actual kit is less important than the amount of games stuff I lug in....that's an Equinox Combo and (dare I say it), a brace of Gig Bars
    Add to the kids parties that I also do UV parties and the lighting changes to UV cannons and bars on top of either GigBars or SwarmFX5's (kids LOVE dots). Don't forget the snow machine for those ones either.

    And then there's the love of my life - the Retro setup (cue Peter going dewey eyed ). It has a particular place in the market and they're gigs I love doing, but so far have failed to make those the main source of income.

    Yes, I've got a lot of spare kit which I've amassed over the years which will never see the light of day again (cheap moonflowers and the like). I really DO need to get around to sorting it and either selling or chucking.

    I've also got backups of the rig that's out on the night because there's no way I'm going to let a customer down because something's decided to blow up on me (reliability is a big thing with me).

    Something that's been mentioned a lot in the past by customers is that they've liked having the ability to choose what it's going to look like. Against all of the conventional rules I have a page on my site which shows various different setups - customers DO look at this and have chosen me in the past because of the variety on offer.

    I suppose it's horses for courses really. I like to give options and flexibility.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Excalibur View Post
    Thread spawned from the " what will life be like after Covid" one.

    Second one can also be upstairs ( unless I'm lucky enough to be in the room with the "secret door" into the car park). It gets subs and tops, two metres of lighting overhead, with usually at least six lights on, and a four foot Equinox.

    Ah, the "secret door room". I bet the door has sealed itself up by now!

    Quote Originally Posted by Excalibur View Post
    Humorous answer, because at venue number two, my mate is in the room below with at least twice the amount of kit I'm using, and I don't want to be shown up too much.
    You have a mate?

    Peter's right as usual (so he says), each to our own. Because of my situation, my choice, where I operate its in one of two rooms, unless I draw my own short straw and its upstairs. That almost happened one night when I had been booked for the upstairs room and when I got there (3 hours early because it suited me), there was nobody around apart from a room with 8 round tables around a dancefloor. So I took my kit up (not all of it on this occasion as I too decided enough was enough. I decided not to set up but to search out a member of staff. When I did, she told me that hey had moved the function for their convenient, not just downstairs but over the way (to the secret door room). So off I huffed and puffed (fortunately the lift was available) to move the gear not just downstairs but all the way round to another building. Fortunately, there was plenty of time and, yes, I had all of my kit with me to work in the now bigger room. But, like I said, with me, it is by choice that I work one venue with an "either / or" choice of rooms. At my previous venue there were again two rooms but the size differences was immense, so two alternative rigs were de rigeur. Unfortunately, bands booked to also play in the small room seemed to read "Warmsworth Hall" as "Albert Hall" and provide enough kit to fill it, squeezing me into a tiny corner accessed only from the kitchen!

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